Saturday, January 31, 2009


Continuing right along with attacking this new stack of films I just acquired, we have MIDNIGHT MOVIE. First of all, from the pictures I saw alone -the ones, aside from the review, that really peaked my interest for this movie- are really, really cool. Normally, I don't fall for just cool stills, but something about the killer (Lee Main) in this flick with: a) one of the most original and brutal weapons I have personally seen in a long time and; b) just about the grooviest mask on a predator seen since the heyday of slasher movies. Speaking of slasher movies, this film absolutely captures the essence of those days-gone-by when horror movies contained that certain air of brutality, griminess, and that little filling of tongue-in-cheek humor. On top of that is some pretty decent acting by the cast (only one of which I really recognized) and a far more solid story than even I immediately gave it credit for.


From the get go, it's hard not to get that feeling that something larger is about to happen real quick. The movie opens in a Psychiatric Hospital where we see one Ted Radford being forcibly hauled to a room in which he is about to undergo some kind of odd treatment that features him watching a movie. Now we find out directly that, according to one of the doctors, the very movie Radford is watching has been known to illicit a psychotic response. The other doctor dismisses his worries and, as we've come to expect from a history of slasher movies, that's when the proverbial shit hits the fan. And it does. Radford goes bonkers and slaughters the entire 71-person hospital. 
Fast forward five years to a little nowhere town with a little run-down Bijou. Up on the mezzanine we see: DARK BENEATH. opening that very night. The theater employees, Bridget (Rebekah Brandes), Rachel (Brea Grant - yes, the super stunning Daphne from Heroes), and Kenny (Shaun Ausmus) are all anticipating a pretty decent turn-out as this is the first time -apparently- that this movie has been shown in five years since the movies writer/director, TED BRADFORD, went bat-shit crazy. Yes, now we begin to see where this is heading. Well, I was wrong too: this movie doesn't really do too much predictably. In fact, the paths it goes down are pretty darn inventive while at once clining tenaciously to the slasher genre. 
Once the movie begins to roll -well, the movie within the movie- we are treated to our own seats as the audience at home gets to watch a nice homage to the good old days of Grindhouse Horror with a movie someting akin to a Hershell Gordon Lewis meets Tobe Hooper. We watch as a van full of Hippies on their way to Woodstock suddenly find themselves with a flat in the middle of a creepy dirt road (does no one learn to STAY ON THE MAIN ROADS!). A kid goes off alone to seek help from the creepy farmhouse a mile back and then, well it's just a killing spree after that.
Now, back in the movie itself, the picture of the old reel their watching melts a little and restarts with an entirely different camera view of: THE VERY THEATER THEY'RE IN! And soon, folks from the Bijou are getting whacked at the same frantic rate. Now, meanwhile, a couple of guys who have come to the theater in hopes of wrangling Ted Radford -as they hope he'll attend- find themselves trapped right along with Bridget, her friend Samantha (Mandell Maughan), Bridget's boyfriend, Josh (Daniel Bonjour), and Sam's fella, Mario (Greg Cirulnick) in the theater. Oh, but that's not the only ones along for the ride of a lifetime: Bridget's little brother (maybe 10), Timmy (Justin Baric), and a biker couple, Harley (Stan Ellsworth), and his bitchy babe, Babe (Melissa Steach). Now, the cops tell the rest of the bunch about the whole Ted Radford thing we already know, and, of course, they immediately freak especially since they CAN'T GET OUT! 
Now, beyond this point, If I start elaborating on what goes on, it'll spoil this this thing for sure, but what I will say is that it adheres firmly to it's slasher roots with a nice slathering of supernatural tossed in for good measure. It's got a nice balance of gore, suspense, twists, and scares without overdoing it on any one level. I liked it quite a bit and really dug it's bit of originality and the groovy ending. Seek this one out, if not just for the kick-ass killer. Good stuff.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Yes, that is the title I'm going with, and now I'll elaborate as to why. As I was perusing Rue Morgue the other day, as I am wont to as the new issues hit shelves, I began to jot down a bunch of movies that were relatively well reviewed and that I had not seen. Well, my list quickly escalated to ten, and I managed to locate eight of them rather easily and figured, since I often just hide films away and forget about them, I might as well watch these and see how each looks. So, this will be the first of the eight and, if all goes according to plan, I'll try to 'kill off' two or three a week. Okay, on with it.

AMUSEMENT (2008) Direct to DVD. Directed by John Simpson, Horror, Approx: 130 minutes.

The ad I saw for this movie included two very distinct pictures: An exceedingly demented clown nearly as scary as Pennywise, and a flayed woman hanging from chains. Now, I will happily report that both of these things are in this movie, without a doubt... and this is good. However, those wonderful things aside, there are a few 'cookie cutter' scenes in this movie that really signify the genre yet, that too, is okay. 
From the get go the film really starts to traverse familiar territory, and I was at first worried that this was going to stray into 'been-there' flop, but I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised at how it played out. Three lady friends from high school are shown at the onset, and are immediately pegged as once having been best friends. In the first stanza, we meet Shelby (Laura Breckenridge), and her boyfriend on a road trip. They find themselves in a convoy on the highway with a few other vehicles and decide to stop at a gas station with the other drivers. One of them, a standoffish semi driver, tells Shelby that up ahead on the freeway is bumper to bumper according to his radio contact. He tells the others to follow him and he'd be happy to circumvent the issue and get them back on the highway. Yes, a nice red flag went up for me here, too, and this really could have gone in so many directions, but I will say, it isn't always the sadistic trucker after all.
In the second part, we meet Tabitha (Katheryn Winnick) and it begins as though it were written like an urban legend. Now, we've all seen hundreds of these UL movies, each more or less a mirror image of the last. Well, this is certainly one for the originality department and I have to say, gave me a bit of a start. Tab is the young aunt to a couple little boys she is in town to visit. She arrives at the house only to hear that the baby sitter has gone and left the two tykes alone. Well, Tab is none to happy, but makes the best and gets the boys off to bed. As Tab brings her things to the guest room, she discovers that is inundated with clowns (PS: I HATE clowns). I think you can see where this is headed so I won't even bother to carry on. Once you see the clown pic I mentioned earlier, you'll understand.
Now part three finds Lisa (Jessica Lucas) at a bar with her roommate, Kat. Lisa talks Kat into going home with a guy she doesn't know but who's had an eye on her all night. Yeah, there's her first mistake. Later, after Lisa and her fella wake up, there is no sign of Kat, and Lisa, naturally, gets worried. Well, she knows that the guy was staying at a local 'hostel' on campus, so she goes around to see if Kat is still there. Well, as Kat was turned away, her boyfriend uses his status as a Health Department officer to wiggle his way in. Hours later (no, I won't tell you what goes on inside) Lisa manages to sneak her own way in only to discover a really creepy deaf lady coupled with some serious issues with all the beds in the joint. Sleeping with someone takes on a whole new meaning.
Soon, all of this seemingly separate story lines come to a head as a now institutionalized 'girl' (nope, not getting that out of me either) thinks back on her school days and realizes that she and her friends really shattered a young boy's emotions by making fun of him rather relentlessly. Well, DING, a light goes off and she suddenly realizes who she might be up against. From this point on, the twists and turns come one after another and I shan't spoil a thing only to tell you that the aforementioned 'flayed female' scene is in there somewhere as quite a doozy of a twist itself. I have to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised and quite glad I watched it. By no means a gory film in any respect, but certainly worth a viewing with a number of head-nodding approvals from me. Find this one, and be AMUSED. Ha ha! 'It's funny, right'.


Did I mention that the All New Superfriends Hour Season 1 Volume 2 hit the streets yesterday? I didn't? Well, shame on me! This is one of those cartoons that you remember from being a kid. And now we get more of the same on DVD. Clcik HERE for a clip from yesteryear.

What are you waiting for? Go get it already!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Ever since I saw the advert for this flick quite a number of months ago in Rue Morgue and Fango mags, not only was I  completely smitten with the few images I'd seen, but I was also so very ready to see another masterpiece out of Japan comparable to the amazing Machine Girl (also directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura, see past entries right here for a write up). For the several weeks following I did nothing but check on release dates, torrents and the like to one day hope and pray that I would stumble across what was sure to be an epic gore fest for the ages. Then, this past Tuesday, it was released and therefore download-able. Oh sure, my buddy Doug informed me that every site he'd found had 10 times as many leechers as seeders (if you don't know what I mean, well, look it up...) and it could take potentially hours or days to fully 'appear'. Well, I found one and gave it a shot. That night, Monday, I was watching the movie I'd salivated over for far too long. 

And so it began: running red with overtly hysterical hose-like sprays of blood from every conceivable location. I really wasn't interested in a plot or a story, all I wanted to see was ridiculous gore from every corner of the cinematic globe. I was not disappointed, well, inasmuch as there was certainly gallons upon gallons of pumped blood. However, I have to say (sad-heartedly, in fact) that after an hour -half the film- the severings and limb-removals tend to get just a little, well, stale. Oh, don't get me wrong: there are plenty of original slayings to more than make up for them and, I have to lovingly admit, quite similar in 'vein' (HA!) to The Story of Ricki. Speaking of story and the aforementioned plot, there actually was one, though thoroughly interspersed with bits of character history and the like, which was okay, too, if it hadn't been for the random splicings of completely unnecessary and jarring Japanese 'killer' commercials. Well, you'll just have to watch to see what I mean. Anyway, there is this new police force in Japan who do nothing but take down these bad guys known as Engineers who can, at will once their human structure in compromised, re-grow a limb sporting a bio-weapon exactly like the one they'd been using such as a chainsaw or Samurai Sword. Now, our main protagonist is one Ruka (Eihi Shiina), who just so happens to be the very best at her specific job of slaying Engineers and even receives a special medal for killing her 50th. Good for her! Anyway, she discovers that the real reason why the Engineers can do that voodoo that they do is due to a little key-shaped 'tumor' that 'unlocks' the specific part of the body that can and will transform into the new weapon. Now here's where it gets a little convoluted. I'm still a little unsure where the Keyman (Itsuji Itao) got his power from, but it looked like a church and some tiny man handed him a jar of urine. Yeah, that was a bit odd. Anyway, creatures with gator-mouth crotches, protruding eyeballs, peeing gigantic vaginas, and toothy boobs abound in this freak festival and I'm damn glad of it. There is action, loads of guns, a woman drawn and quartered by four cop cars, and, as I said, enough sprinkler-ed blood to water the White House lawn. I suggest you find a way to get ahold of this and laugh along at its over-the-top-ness and stack this up as one of the best Japanese Gore flicks of all time. Nice!


** Enjoy this fantastic trailer! **

Thursday, January 15, 2009


A huge bunch of new releases that celebrate a better time for television. A time when cartoons were cool and not commercials for toys. Where sitcoms could be different and night time dramas were more bizarre than the stuff they showed on the daytime soaps. These are some fine examples of what television used to be.


In this, the next to the last season, we have a drama that no one thought would catch on. It wasn't supposed to make it at all. In the end it toppled it's competition and even caused funny man Flip Wilson to cancel his show before The Waltons could do it for him. Unfortunately, a lot of beloved television like this go on for way longer than they should. It was the second season without it's main voice, John-Boy Walton. I was always amazed that any kid his age would let himself be called John-Boy, but that was a different time and place.
World War II played a huge part in the shaping of this season. Add to that the fact that Ellen Corby who played Grandma Walton was sick in real life and the ensemble cast took a huge blow that makes this one of the least effective seasons of the show.
This is the box set for the completist wand with some interesting documentary features this is essential viewing for the true Waltons fan.


Dallas is the exact opposite of the aforementioned Waltons. Sure, it had an ensemble cast, but the main character is J.R. Ewing. He is the madman and master manipulator behind the scenes of the show. Everyone else is expendable. Long past the Who Shot J.R. phenomenon that swept this country of ours, J.R. showed that he was so bad that other cast members dreamt of killing the bastard.
This time around J.R. unleashes one of his most insane plans ever. To have a mercenary blow up Saudi oil fields! This is insanity at it's best and the show doesn't disappoint.
My one true criticism of this set is there are absolutely no extras included. All of these people are alive, can't we get a few little featurettes or something? Maybe commentary on an episode or two? Other than that this is one of the better seasons of a classic television show.


It is impossible to do wrong with the classic series of Charlie Brown releases. This is the seventh release and overshadowed by the more popular, holiday themed ones, but one of my favorites. The fact that these little kids are scooting across the terrain on motorcross is just astonishing to me. If you tried to do that with little kids nowadays you would be sued for child endangerment. Not Charlie Brown who, in spite of being number 13, is determined to win the race.
In addition to this feature we get two bonuses;
You're The Greatest Charlie Brown, where Charlie is trying to win a decathlon. and Dust Yourself Off & Pick Yourself Up, Charlie Brown which is about Charles Schultz' son Craig who inspired this feature.
Another great Charlie Brown disc and hopefully there will be more to follow in the near future.


Finishing up the rest of season one we get more of the Superfriends, more PSA's, more magic tricks and lots of Zan and Jena. Lots of yummy cartoony goodness that shows how a cartoon becomes a classic. There is even a great documentary that explains the cultural phenomenon of The Wonder Twins.
This is quality stuff here folks. I would even at this point be brave enough to watch the earlier stuff with Wendy and Marvin. And that's brave folks.


A sitcom that manages to capture the raunch feel of a New York night court, filled with disgusting behavior by the D.A., a certifiably insane judge and a couple of bailiffs that are like night and day. This is the season where Markie Post takes over from the lady who sand with Meatloaf and comes into her own. A sitcom that probably couldn't get made today and presented here in a great DVD set. This is from the day when NBC could hit them out of the park if it was a sitcom.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I just found out about this! I know, I know, I'm slow, but what can I say. A traditional Disney flick. Did some genius figure out that we loves us some basic cartooning and don't need everything to be in 3D?!? Thank God for that. Anyway, here's a pic and go search for the site. You won't be sorry. I think it looks beautiful.

Friday, January 2, 2009


After reading about this film somewhere toward the back of Rue Morgue -you know, in those pages advertising titty-flicks and piercing sites- I thought to my ill-prepared self, "Download it, see how it is!". Well, I am not always as bright as I like to let on.

The movie is crookedly titled, BLOOD AND SEX NIGHTMARE, and, I suppose, if you squint just right, it makes sense. All in all, though, it's pretty lousy. Directed, Produced, and, hopefully apologized for, by Joseph R. Kolbek for Bloody Earth Films in 2007, BASN appears as though it could have been easily made for under a grand by some local high school drama club. The sound quality, first off, sounds as though it's loudly and without audio suspense hammering the viewer from all angles at once. There wasn't a subtle, 'what-was-that' moment in the whole hour-long ordeal. Storywise, I've seen stronger plot structures on an episode of American Idol. Basically:

Amy (Julia M. Morizawa) -a mildly attractive Oriental chick- and her wooden, Popsicle-stick boyfriend, Nick (Andy McGuinness) decide on a little get-a-way for 'adults' after she returns from her father's funeral. Oh, but wait, before any of the real story begins, we're treated to the swinging chest balloons of a tortured woman (Lily StClaire) who has very little to do with the rest of the story other than to be a cast add-on and naked. Okay. So, the least convincing couple of Nick and Amy head off to the retreat which, as it turns out, is nothing more than a bunch of CABINS in the WOODS near a LAKE featuring BLOOD and, to a lesser extent, SEX. Sound familiar? Yeah, this mess clearly, and poorly, rips off nearly every horror cliche ever committed to film. On a small aside, one of the cabins is being rented by a trio of sadomasochistic freaks reenacting a sit-com including incest, transvestites, and I don't know, roll playing maybe. Wackiest part of the movie hands down. As Amy and Nick arrive they are greeted by the one shining turd in this overflowing public toilet, the groundskeeper, Walter (Dan Petit). An old man who looks vaguely like Captain Kangaroo on a bender, who spouts not only the best lines ever, but also the damn filthiest. In fact, once the couple retires to their cabin, he quips: "They're gonna be dead soon, and then she's all mine..." and solicits himself with this zinger: "I got a 10 inch dick! No lie!" Yeah, he was cool. Was. As the train wreck progresses, we get to see several of the following things: far too much dick up to and including a choking with a severed member, ridiculous 'seen this a billion time before' killings, a dildo punishment, and, once Amy discovers that the killer is being reborn by the sexual energy surrounding the area, a -stop reading here if you've just eaten mayonnaise and ketchup- rather juicy shower consisting of, ahem, mayo and ketchup... if you dig. As I said, the ending where Amy, the VIRGIN, figures out that our killer, one Felix Gallo (Tom Thatcher) was sexually molested and driven to suicide by his mother in one of the cabins, comes as ZERO surprise. Yeah, since Amy is a VIRGIN -a VIRGIN being inundated with horrible nightmares (natch) I might add- Nick gets fed up and goes to the campground Bar (wha?) to pick up a chick and ends up doing the nastiest hoo-ha I have personally ever seen outside of a Hustler mag. Thank god, despite her full frontal, she gets whacked. So, Amy and Nick RUN through the WOODS to the LAKE that is, evidently, sacred (HA!) and, though they could just hang out, Nick gets this idea that Amy wants him to get killed thanks to his getting of some strange and leaves the sanctity of the lake thereby getting chainslaughtered (new word). Well, all ends relatively well once Amy discovers that a damn MIRROR in the room is a portal (NO!) and vaporizes Felix.

In a rather large, painful nutshell, that's it. Look, you can get better versions of every movie this crap fest steals from anywhere just please promise me you won't bother with this. It's a damn mess. In parts, literally what with its GALLONS of thin, watery BBQ sauce blood. Still, back away with the sign of the cross, I implore you.